Welcome to the Penn Museum blog. First launched in January 2009, the Museum blog now has over 800 posts covering a range of topics in the categories of Museum, Collection, Exhibitions, Research, and By Location. Here you’ll hear directly from our staff and Penn students about their work, research, experiences, and discoveries. To explore the Museum's other digital content, visit The Digital Penn Museum.

The Kaskasian Beaver Bowl

By: Margaret Bruchac and Ben Kelser

This bowl, in the form of a wooden beaver with a bowl-shaped carving sculpted into its back, is identified as having been crafted by the Kaskaskian people in the Illinois Territory.[1] The bowl was one of two non-identical beaver bowls collected in 1795 by George Turner, who was then serving as a judge in the […]

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A Fine Line Between Town and Country

By: Anne Tiballi and Alex Chen

Hello from China! My name is Alex and I’ve just completed my first year in the cultural anthropology PhD program. I am conducting fieldwork in southeast China currently, where I am working with a social enterprise that conducts social impact trip for Chinese high school students hoping to attend college in the US or UK. […]

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Coins for Moo: A Cosa Story

By: Anne Tiballi and Jordan Rogers

Cosa has been featured a half-dozen times in the Summer Fieldwork blogs over the past few years. Penn has sent a sizeable contingent of archaeologists, historians, and philologists to the site to participate in the excavation of the bath complex at the Mid-Republican colonial site in Central Italy. The mere existence of the Bath Complex […]

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Getting Comfortable with Discomfort

By: Anne Tiballi and Samantha Seyler

As a second year PhD student in Anthropology about to enter my third and final year of coursework, I was nervous as I planned my summer. I had spent the last year researching the history of the region surrounding the town of Comas on the eastern slopes of the central Peruvian Andes. And I had […]

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Looted Landscapes of Upper Egypt

By: Anne Tiballi and Robert Vigar

As a graduate student, my research focus has been on the interaction between local communities and cultural heritage in Upper Egypt. One of the things I am keen to understand is the unauthorized exploitation of archaeological sites, what we often hear referred to as looting. What are the socio-economic, cultural, and historical factors that stimulate […]

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A Day in the Field

By: Anne Tiballi and Justin Reamer

This summer, with funding from the Penn Museum, I served as a field supervisor and teaching assistant at the Smith Creek Archaeological Project (SCAP) run by Dr. Megan Kassabaum (Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Weingarten Assistant Curator for North America) in Wilkinson County, Mississippi. As a field supervisor, my daily duties consisted of supervising students digging […]

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Return to Morgantina

By: Anne Tiballi and William Pedrick

There is something great about returning to an archaeological project that you’ve worked on before. The streets are familiar. The faces are familiar. The dirt is familiar. Working for the Contrada Agnese Project at Morgantina in Sicily this past summer, I was able to live in my beloved mountainous town of Aidone again. I saw […]

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A Gorilla Odyssey

By: Anne Tiballi and Alexandra Kralick

The big wooden board hanging from a shoulder strap was knocking against my side. Ka-lunk Ka-lunk. What did people think I was carrying? There was a measuring tape along the side and a moving piece of wood, but it was hard to notice those in passing. Still, by the time I arrived at the museum, […]

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Let’s Talk About Sex (Education)

By: Anne Tiballi and Caroline Hodge

Everyone has a story about sex education. From awkward conversations with their mother aided by a discreet pamphlet talking vaguely about “changes,” to school health class presentations consisting of one graphic picture after another of the effects of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), to a simulation where students had to plan for life with an unexpected […]

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Making the Familiar Strange: Reflections on Fieldwork at a Children’s Museum

By: Anne Tiballi and Elizabeth Oakley

An anthropologist, a 6-year-old, and a 4-year-old walk into a museum. Rather than a punchline to a bizarre joke, this is the scenario that defined my second summer of fieldwork at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (TCM). I had visited this museum so often when I was a kid, and I’ve always consider myself the […]

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